Milk supply is a delicate thing. In some cases, the amount of milk available can fluctuate based on stressors such as dehydration, sleeplessness, and anything that ups stress hormones. In other cases, we may simply have come down to the last few oz in our tanks. Thankfully, there are things we can do to increase our supply and make more breastmilk available when we need it most.
Whether you’re just starting out and want to give your breastfeeding journey a solid head start or you’ve been nursing for a while and feel like your production has waned a bit lately, these tips will help you kick-start or rev up your lactation process so that you can feed your baby all they need with greater ease and less stress all around.
Drink More Water
One of the first things you should do if you’re concerned about your milk supply is make sure you’re drinking enough water. Residents in warm climates may not need as much as those of us with colder climates, but as a general rule, nursing moms need to drink at least two liters of water every day. This can help increase your milk supply for a number of reasons. H2O is essential for hydration, which can help keep your milk production on track. Additionally, water is the main source of electrolytes, nutrients that help with the nervous system (which is essential for milk ejection). Additionally, water can help with milk flow and letdown, as it helps relax and loosen the muscles of the breast.
Eat More Carbohydrates
If you’re having trouble increasing your milk supply, you may want to try increasing your carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates—which include grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes—can help boost your milk production. This increase can be especially useful if you’re struggling with low supply or if you’re trying to build up a supply after breastfeeding has begun. A study published in the Journal of Human Lactation found that women who consumed more grains (such as whole grains, corn, or rice) had significantly higher milk production, compared to women who consumed fewer grains.
Take Safer-For-Baby Medication
Certain medications can help boost milk supply, making them ideal for moms who are having trouble increasing their production, especially if they’re breastfeeding. One example is metformin, a type of medication used to treat diabetes, which has been shown to boost lactation and increase breast milk supply. If you have been diagnosed with low milk supply, you may want to discuss with your doctor the possibility of taking a medication to boost it.
Try Essential Oils
Certain essential oils have been shown to help with increasing breast milk production, which can be helpful for moms who are having trouble making enough for their babies. One example is fennel essential oil, which has been shown to help increase breastmilk production, as well as other essential oils such as vanilla and peppermint oil. You can choose to apply these oils to your breasts as a massage or add them to your daily cup of tea—or both. However, if you are taking them internally, you should consult your doctor first.
Exercising has been shown to help boost breast milk production, which can be especially helpful if you’re having trouble with how to increase milk supply. While you don’t have to sign up for a marathon to boost your production, research has shown that exercising can help boost milk production, especially if you’re not seeing results from other methods. It’s recommended that you wait until you’re done breastfeeding before joining a rigorous exercise program, but light exercise, while you’re breastfeeding, is safe and can help you make more milk for your baby.
Acupuncture can help boost milk production for many breastfeeding moms, though it may not work for everyone. Research has shown that breastfeeding mothers who received acupuncture sessions once a week for six weeks made significantly more breastmilk than those who did not receive acupuncture. If you’re having trouble increasing your milk supply, you may want to try acupuncture. It’s generally safe and free from side effects, and it’s been shown to be very effective in increasing milk production.
Increase Your Protein Intake
While breastmilk itself is about 25% protein, some moms may not be getting enough of it to fully support their breastfed babies. If you are having trouble increasing your milk supply and are worried that your baby may not be getting enough to eat, you can try upping your protein intake to increase your breast milk production. You can do this by eating more protein-rich foods such as almonds, eggs, beans, fish, and chicken.
Eat More fiber-rich foods
If you’re having trouble increasing your milk supply, you may want to boost your fiber intake. You’ve likely heard that fiber helps keep things moving through your digestive tract, and that’s true. But it can do more than that—it can actually help boost your breastmilk production. You can do this by eating more fiber-rich foods such as oats, flax seeds, apples, and pears. While you can increase your fiber intake by eating more fiber-rich foods, you should also limit your caffeine intake, as it can reduce your breast milk production.
Try Bump-building Meals
Some foods have been shown to help promote breast tissue growth and can help increase your milk supply. One example is oats, which have been shown to promote lactation and increase breast milk production. You can try making a “breastfeeding oatmeal” by adding a splash of your favorite milk to oats cooked with water for the best results. You can also try incorporating foods like coconut oil, avocados, and other foods rich in lauric acid to help boost your production.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to feed your baby, but it can be challenging for some moms who are trying to increase their breast milk production to keep up with their babies’ demands. If you’re finding that you’re not able to keep up with demand, try some of these tips to help boost your productivity and make breastfeeding an easier, more enjoyable experience for you and your baby. If you’re having trouble increasing your milk supply, don’t panic. There are plenty of things you can do to naturally boost your production. With a little bit of patience and persistence, you can help get your breastfeeding journey back on track and make feeding your baby an experience that brings you joy and satisfaction.
Breastfeeding is great, but it’s not always easy, especially if you’re trying to increase your milk supply. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to boost your production and make breastfeeding an easier and more pleasant experience. If you’re having trouble increasing your milk supply, try some of these tips, and you’re sure to see an improvement in no time!